The Coalition government has announced that the axed medical helpline NHS Direct will not be scrapped completely, but kept in a shed in case the real NHS stops working.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley confirmed that a deal had been struck with the Treasury to turn off NHS Direct’s funding but to keep it in a big cardboard box “just in case”.
“We initially thought we might sell it on eBay, perhaps to America,” Mr Lansley said. “But then we noticed that the proper NHS is started to look a bit knackered, and there are quite a few cracks and cuts when you look closely.”
The idea to mothball NHS Direct for spare parts or emergencies was “very sensible”, he said. “My wife told me to just get rid of it, but I’m the minister and in my view you can’t be too careful, which is why we’re keeping NHS Direct in the shed out the back just in case the real one breaks down. Or gets broken up.”